Hands-On With Samsung’s New Galaxy Fold

After months of waiting and a design overhaul, Samsung's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, is now available to customers who want to shell out $1,980 for a device that can convert from a phone into a tablet.

We decided to pick up one of Samsung's folding smartphones to test it out to see if it's worth the price point, so check out our video for our Galaxy Fold unboxing and first impressions.

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Samsung initially planned to release the Galaxy Fold in early 2019, but after providing the device to reviewers, a host of major issues were uncovered that impacted the durability and performance of the device.


Samsung ultimately canceled the Galaxy Fold's launch and went back to the drawing board to address some of the problems that led to multiple broken devices within a matter of days after reviewers received a review unit.


So the new Galaxy Fold is supposed to have a more durable display with a better protective layer (which some reviewers thought was meant to be removed on the original version) and a strengthened hinge to prevent breakage from dust and debris, and other durability changes.

Samsung's updated device, as we discovered, comes with a whole host of paperwork and instruction, which makes for an odd unboxing experience. The Galaxy Fold is still delicate enough that users need to be instructed in the specifics of how to use it without breaking it. Many of the instructions are also outlined in a Samsung video:


Basically Samsung warns Galaxy Fold owners to use a light touch when interacting with the device, avoid water and dust, avoid excessive pressure, and to keep it away from objects that can be damaged by magnets. It's unsettling getting such a long list of warnings with a new smartphone.

Design wise, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is massive in size and heavy compared to a standard smartphone, but that's no surprise since it unfolds from a thick 4.6-inch smartphone into a 7.3-inch tablet.


There are volume and power buttons on the right side along with a fingerprint sensor, which is best suited to a thumb due to its position. There's a triple-lens camera at the back, two front-facing cameras at the front when it's unfolded, and one other camera on the front above the display when folded.


The versatility of the Galaxy Fold is useful because the small 4.6-inch folded size is ideal for one-handed use, but then the 7.3-inch display is ideal for when you have the time and space to use the phone unfolded. It's an interesting compromise for those smartphone users who have always preferred a smaller form.


Using a folded phone in practice is novel and it's not quite like anything else that's out there. The 7.3-inch display looks great, and it's perfect for media consumption and multitasking. Typing with the keyboard works well despite the split design.


There are new T-shaped brackets at the top and bottom of the Galaxy Fold that are meant to address the hinge issues present in the prior Galaxy Fold design. It also looks more resistant to dust, and the built-in screen protector now extends to the hinges and can't be accidentally removed.


The crease in the middle of the Galaxy Fold isn't really noticeable in person when it's in use, and it mostly blends right in.


We've only had the Galaxy Fold for a couple of hours, so it remains to be seen how well it's going to hold up over time, but Samsung is now offering a $149 screen replacement program for those who experience issues.


Despite the improvements, we've already heard reports of durability issues. TechCrunch's Galaxy Fold, for example, already has a broken display even though it wasn't damaged. TechCrunch's Brian Heater says he believes pressing on the display to close it may have caused the damage.

Since the Galaxy Fold is priced starting at $2,000, it's a niche smartphone, but if it proves popular, folding display technology could be the future.

Rumors and patents suggest Apple has explored folding display technology for the iPhone, but there's thus far been no concrete evidence that Apple has plans to release an iPhone that folds in half.


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Samsung Cancels Galaxy Fold Pre-Orders in the U.S., Offers $250 Credit as Compensation

Ahead of the upcoming Galaxy Fold launch, Samsung canceled pre-orders for customers who had previously signed on to purchase the device earlier this year.

Samsung this morning sent out emails to pre-order customers letting them know that their existing pre-orders, many of which were placed back in April, have been canceled. Samsung cites a rethinking of the customer experience as the reason why pre-orders were canceled.

Ensuring that you have the best possible experience with this revolutionary new technology is our top priority. We are taking the time to rethink the entire customer experience - from purchase to unboxing, to post-purchase service - so in the meantime, we have, regrettably, decided to cancel your existing pre-order. While not an easy decision to make, we believe this is the right thing to do.
Customers who had pre-orders will need to place orders once again when the Galaxy Fold launches in the United States later in September. Samsung is planning to launch the Galaxy Fold in South Korea on Friday, September 6, but the U.S. rollout is being delayed.

Part of the new ordering process will include Samsung's "Galaxy Fold Premier Service," which offers customers "direct access" to Samsung experts and an optional one-on-one onboarding session that walks users through the Galaxy Fold features.


Pre-order customers who had their orders canceled are receiving a $250 Samsung credit that's redeemable for anything on the Samsung.com website.

Samsung initially delayed the Galaxy Fold after multiple reviewers ran into issues with the device. Some experienced screen failures, while others mistakenly removed a protective screen component that wasn't meant to be removed.

Samsung reengineered the Galaxy Fold to address the problems and improve durability. The top protective layer of the display was extended beyond the bezel so that it looks integrated and not like a screen protector to be removed.


The top and bottom hinge areas were strengthened with protection caps to prevent dust from getting under the display, additional metal layers under the display were included for reinforcement, and the space between the hinge and the body was reduced.

The Galaxy Fold is Samsung's first smartphone with a foldable display, able to convert from a 4.6-inch smartphone when folded to a 7.3-inch phablet when opened up. It features a 7-nanometer processor, 12GB RAM, 512GB storage, six cameras, and an operating system designed for the folding mechanism.

The Galaxy Fold is priced starting at $1,980, and its new September launch date will put it in competition with Apple's 2019 flagship devices, which will be unveiled at a September 10 event next week.


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Samsung Reveals New Launch Dates for the Delayed Galaxy Fold

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Fold will go on sale in South Korea on Friday, September 6, over five months after its original scheduled launch date and just days ahead of Apple's annual iPhone event.


According to The Verge, the Galaxy Fold will also be available in France, Germany, and Singapore come September 18. Samsung hasn't revealed an exact date for the UK or US, but the handset is expected to arrive in those countries in the coming weeks. Initially at least, the phone will be available in just a single configuration, offering 512GB of storage, 12GB of memory, and 5G support, with a Montblanc luxury case thrown in.

Samsung will be crossing its fingers and its toes in the hope of a fault-free rollout this time around. The folding smartphone was initially meant to be in the hands of customers in April, but it was delayed following multiple reports from reviewers of broken units after just a few days' use. Many reviewers experienced issues while testing the device, including random bulges appearing on the 7.3-inch display and flickering screens. In many cases, the issues were enough to make the $1,980 device completely unusable.

An independent investigation revealed that the folding phone lacked adequate protection against the ingress of debris between the OLED screen and the chassis bezel. Samsung recalled all Fold devices that were distributed to reviewers and said it was postponing the launch of the hybrid handset while it completed a redesign to resolve the display failures. The South Korean firm said in July that the phone would relaunch in September, but didn't specify a date.

Samsung is already working on its next bendable smartphone, according to a Bloomberg report earlier this week. Projected to launch early next year, it's said to be a flip phone-style 6.7-inch device that can be folded down into a compact-sized square.

Apple's iPhone event takes place on September 10, when the company is expected to launch three new iPhones with more advanced cameras. The line-up includes two OLED models in 5.8 and 6.5 inches and one LCD model that's 6.1 inches. Apple is said to be exploring folding screen technology, but nothing suggests it plans to release a foldable smartphone in the near future.


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Samsung’s Galaxy Fold to Launch in September Following Design Revisions

Samsung's foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, is now set to launch in September after being delayed in order for Samsung to make some design changes, Samsung announced today.

The new version of the Galaxy Fold features several design and construction improvements. The top layer, which was mistakenly peeled off by some reviewers, has been tweaked to make it clear that it's part of the display, while additional reinforcements have been added to better protect the display from external particles.


The full changes Samsung made to the Galaxy Fold are listed below:
The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed.

Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience:

The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps.
- Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display.
- The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced.
The company says it has also been working to improve the overall Galaxy Fold user experience, optimizing more apps and services for the foldable interface.

Samsung initially planned to launch the Galaxy Fold this spring, but ended up delaying the launch after several reviewers experienced broken Galaxy Fold devices after just a few days.

Some of the reviewers mistakenly pulled off the top layer of the display as it looked like a plastic screen protector, which led to display damage. Other reviewers had screen failures, while still others saw display damage due to small particles of dust getting in between the layers of the display.

Based on the changes Samsung made to the Galaxy Fold, it sounds like each of the individual issues has been addressed, and hopefully launch versions of the Galaxy Fold will hold up better than the initial review units.

Samsung says that the Galaxy Fold will be made available to consumers starting in September in select markets, with specific launch details to be shared as a launch approaches.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold, which will be one of the first foldable smartphones on the market, will cost $1,980 when it becomes available for purchase.


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Samsung Completes Redesign of Galaxy Fold That Fixes Screen Failures

Samsung has completed its redesign of the Galaxy Fold to resolve the multiple display failures that led to its delay, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.


According to the publication, the smartphone maker is now in the "final stages" of producing a version that's ready for the consumer market, but it's still unable to give a firm launch date.

The South Korean company originally planned to roll out its $1,980 foldable phone on April 26, but was forced to delay the launch after several units sent out to reviewers broke during testing.

All of the issues were related to the device's screen, which was later shown to be vulnerable to debris ingress, thanks to an iFixit teardown that was later removed at Samsung's request.

The company has reportedly fixed these problems, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg.
It has now stretched the protective film to wrap around the entire screen and flow into the outer bezels so it would be impossible to peel off by hand, said the people, who have seen the latest versions. It re-engineered the hinge, pushing it slightly upward from the screen (it’s now flush with the display) to help stretch the film further when the phone opens.

That tension makes the film feel harder and more a natural part of the device rather than a detachable accessory, they added. The consequent protrusion, almost imperceptible to the naked eye, may help reduce the chance of a crease developing in the middle of the screen over time, one of the people said.
Samsung on Monday announced plans to hold an event on Wednesday, August 7 in New York City, where it will unveil its next-generation Galaxy Note device.

Samsung may also use the August event to provide more detail on when we can expect the delayed Galaxy Fold to launch.


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Samsung Still Has No Idea When the Galaxy Fold Will Launch

Samsung on Tuesday acknowledged that it is unable to provide a firm release date for its Galaxy Fold smartphone and has contacted pre-order customers in the United States to apologize for the delay (via Reuters).

"If we do not hear from you and we have not shipped by May 31st, your order will be canceled automatically," the South Korean tech giant's U.S. subsidiary told Galaxy Fold pre-order customers in an email late on Monday, which was confirmed by a Samsung spokeswoman.
In a statement given to Reuters, Samsung said that U.S. regulations required the company to notify customers that pre-orders would be canceled if the product did not ship by May 31.

The South Korean company originally planned to roll out its $1,980 foldable phone on April 26, but was forced to delay the launch after several units sent out to reviewers broke during testing.

After recalling the review units, Samsung contacted pre-order customers on April 22, saying it would announce a new release date "in the coming weeks" and would take measures to strengthen the display protection. The device's screen was shown to be vulnerable to debris ingress, thanks to an iFixit teardown that was later removed at Samsung's request.

The development is the latest in a series of embarrassing events for Samsung, whose hybrid tablet/smartphone was supposed to demonstrate the company leading innovation in the mobile space. Still, at least the device in its current state won't get into the hands of thousands of customers around the world, which would likely have turned into a larger problem.

Samsung has said it plans to make at least 1 million Galaxy Fold handsets in the first year of production, compared to the total 300 million phones it produces annually on average. It originally closed pre-orders for the device early because of "high demand."


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iFixit Removes Galaxy Fold Teardown at Samsung’s Request

iFixit has decided to pull its revealing Samsung Galaxy Fold teardown. The decision is said to have been made after Samsung indirectly requested its removal from the website, which published the teardown on Wednesday. iFixit provided the following statement on its blog:

We were provided our Galaxy Fold unit by a trusted partner. Samsung has requested, through that partner, that iFixit remove its teardown. We are under no obligation to remove our analysis, legal or otherwise. But out of respect for this partner, whom we consider an ally in making devices more repairable, we are choosing to withdraw our story until we can purchase a Galaxy Fold at retail.
It's unclear why Samsung wanted the teardown removed, but a few possibilities come to mind. Perhaps the company intends to make significant changes to the design of the Galaxy Fold before it's officially launched, and it doesn't want a teardown on the web of a device that's substantially different to the one that eventually goes to market. Or maybe it was simply taking action against a partner that hadn't been given the authority to provide the device to iFixit in the first place.

Another interpretation, offered by The Verge's Dieter Bohn, is that Samsung didn't appreciate the bad press that came with the teardown, after it exposed the design flaw allowing debris to ingress behind the display, which presumably caused so many review units to break, and led Samsung to recall them and then delay the device's launch. Whatever the reason, it doesn't look terribly good for the company.

Samsung has yet to offer a new release date for the Galaxy Fold. In an email sent on Wednesday to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. In the meantime, anyone still interested in checking out iFixit's teardown can find it on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.


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iFixit Teardown of Samsung Galaxy Fold Reveals Likely Design Flaw

iFixit today published its teardown of Samsung's Galaxy Fold, offering more details on a potential flaw in the device, which has now been delayed following reports of several broken review units.

Essentially, it looks as though Samsung was so focused on perfecting the folding mechanism on the smartphone/tablet hybrid that it made a major oversight: providing adequate protection against the ingress of debris between the OLED screen and the chassis bezel.

To achieve the fold, the thin bezel that surrounds (and protects) the screen leaves a gap where the two halves meet... This 7 mm gap doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it leaves the display exposed—so should something accidentally enter, it's curtains for the screen. (Oops.)

When closed, the screen is protected—but the spine is flanked by massive gaps that our opening picks hop right into. These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage, but will definitely attract dirt.
As iFixit notes, it will be interesting to see how future folding designs will overcome these weaknesses - if indeed they have a future. Following Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi revealed that they too will launch folding smartphones, and there are signs Apple is looking into the possibility of a foldable iPhone. Apple has filed several patent applications related to folding phones that variously fold inward, outward, and both inward and outward.

Potential point of entry for debris ingress (Image: iFixit)

As for the Galaxy Fold, the months ahead look increasingly uncertain. One day after Samsung said it was delaying the launch of the hybrid handset, the company announced that it would be retrieving all Fold devices that were distributed to reviewers.

Many reviewers experienced multiple issues while testing the device, including a random bulge appearing on the display, as well as flickering and failing screens. In many cases, the issues were enough to make the $1,980 device completely unusable.

In an email to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. "Your pre-order guarantees your place in the queue for this innovative technology," the company promised.


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Samsung Retrieving Defective Galaxy Fold Review Units as it Works to Fix Display Issues Before Launch

One day after Samsung said it was delaying the public launch of the Galaxy Fold smartphone, the company has now announced that it will be retrieving all Galaxy Fold devices that were distributed to reviewers (via Reuters). For many reviewers, the Galaxy Fold proved to be an unreliable smartphone as the display experienced multiple issues while being tested.


These issues included a random bulge appearing on the display, as well as flickering and failing screens. In many cases, the issues were enough to make the Galaxy Fold devices completely unusable. Now, Samsung will retrieve these units and prepare for the re-launch of the smartphone at an unspecified date in the future. The Galaxy Fold was originally set to launch on April 26.
“On the bright side, we have an opportunity to nail down this issue and fix it before selling the phones to a massive audience, so they won’t have same complaints,” said a Samsung employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In a few cases, reviewers removed a protective layer on the smartphone's screen that looked similar to plastic films that are meant to be peeled off of displays after you open a device. For the Galaxy Fold, this layer is not meant to be removed, leading to some of the display issues.

Still, not every reviewer with a broken Galaxy Fold removed the plastic film, suggesting that there are multiple issues with the device that Samsung will have to address before a wide launch to the public. In an email to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. "Your pre-order guarantees your place in the queue for this innovative technology," the company promised.

When it does launch, the Galaxy Fold will be available for $1,980.


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Galaxy Fold Launch Delayed Until ‘At Least Next Month’ After Display Failures

The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung has delayed its launch of the Galaxy Fold until "at least next month" after multiple review units experienced sudden display failures while being tested by the media last week.

Todd Haselton/CNBC

Samsung initially said it remained committed to launching the Galaxy Fold on April 26, but the rollout is now expected in the "coming weeks." The company has yet to confirm the delay, but it wouldn't be surprising given that at least some of the folding smartphones appear to have a serious hardware issue.

Galaxy Fold launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai have already been postponed, according to Engadget's Richard Lai.

Samsung earlier confirmed that it would "thoroughly inspect" the affected devices to determine the cause, but it has yet to provide an explanation. Samsung also cautioned that removing the protective layer on the display could cause damage, but some displays failed even with the protective layer in place.

The delay would be an embarrassing mishap for a smartphone that starts at $1,980, but the right move before the Galaxy Fold gets into the hands of thousands of customers around the world and potentially turned into a larger problem.


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